The Unholy Mother
by Enya Wolf
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense /
Print Length: 248 pages
Reviewed by Melissa Suggitt | Content Warnings: Missing child, miscarriage, mental illness
A tale as heartbreaking as it is hopeful, exploring trauma, tragedy, and forgiveness
The picture-perfect marriage can be rockier than it appears. A family shattered by the unthinkable. Two parents left to grieve and pick up the pieces. And a new adventure that leads to redemption. The Unholy Mother by Enya Wolf explores grief, regret, forgiveness, and hope, all set against an idyllic backdrop of the Caribbean.
A modern-day Indiana Jones, Dr. Jamie Steiger found fame when he discovered the Mendoza Crucifix: a lost artifact depicting an Unholy Mother that catapulted him to the top of his field. Now a TV personality, exploring the world and all its treasures, he is at a career high when he is invited to the Bahamas to attend a launch of his newest endeavor. Jumping at the opportunity, he brings along his wife Kim and their son William.
While promoting his new reality TV show, a madman (and soon-after revealed murderer) interrupts his speech and attacks him. In the aftermath, Jamie is swept up in a sea of emotion with his producer and makes a terrible decision. One that irreversibly sets him on a path of regret.
Tucked away at the villa, Kim, who is grieving the miscarriage she just endured days before, begins to spiral about her failing marriage and her failing uterus. She makes a string of poor decisions that end in tragedy. While otherwise incapacitated, their toddler disappears into the dark, stolen away, and their lives change forever.
Years later, as both Kim and Jamie struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives in the wake of their trauma, they are given a last flicker of hope. When a lead pops up in the case of William’s disappearance—one with a strange connection to the Mendoza Crucifix and Jamie’s attacker from years before—they begin a journey neither of them is prepared for.
Will they be able to survive and withstand the revelations and the suffering amid their search for answers? Will they be able to find a way back to each other?
It is incredibly difficult to imagine just how ghastly a situation losing your child would be. Let alone the guilt that would follow Kim around forever. A testament to how well the author understands the subject matter and audience, this book thrives in its depiction of postpartum depression. How helpless it feels to be stuck so deep inside your own head. Maybe I’m reading into things (because maybe I want to!), but the postpartum reading gives me so much and makes me curious how others would respond.
The themes in this novel are all rather heavy subjects including losing a child, a failed marriage, infertility, survival, and mental illness. Yet I did not feel as though I bore the weight of them as a reader. Even though almost every scenario this couple goes through could be considered tragic, the amount of hope dripping from the pages is palpable and refreshing. Notably within each character’s inner dialogue. Their willingness to try and overcome is quite inspiring, and Enya Wolf’s ability to convey such raw emotion is nothing short of astounding.
The Unholy Mother is an adventure and a lesson rolled into one. It will keep readers engaged and will leave them with a new perspective on motherhood, suffering, and forgiveness.
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